Let’s see…where did I leave off? Oh yes, I was drinking wine + eating oysters. Obviously great fuel for the night before a race. Especially a race that has a course like this.
Since I was feeling the effects of wine when I woke up the morning of the race, I started my day with lots of alcohol-absorbing food. This was plate 1 of 3. The race didn’t start until 1 PM so I had plenty of time to dine and digest.
This local joint — Mama Jean’s — had a killer breakfast buffet. I’m not generally a buffet fan but they had mounds of perfectly crisp bacon! Wahoo! Race? What race? FEED ME BACON.
So, clearly, I was well equipped to run this race. Slightly hung over and fueled by bacon. We were all just doing it for fun and didn’t really know what we were in for. That course map doesn’t even do it justice. It was probably the hardest course I have ever run.
The Hulk Trail Challenge 10K was held on the Hulk Trail, a man-made trail in the Myrtle Beach area that was designed for mountain biking: “the single track mountain bike trail starts out with a 30′ ft hill climb, then takes on characteristics of a wooden roller coaster for 3/4’s of the trail.” [ha! I found their description AFTER I wrote my description in the upcoming sentences… about it being like a roller coaster! see, I told ya!] From the real mountain biking trails I’ve seen, it simulated it pretty well. Tons of turns and tight switchbacks. Tree roots. Soft sand dunes [ok those aren’t on typical mountain trails…but running up soft sand dunes is NOT easy]. Tree stumps in the middle of the trail. Man-made dirt mounds/ramps to run over. Super steep uphills. Super steep downhills (they had warning signs before you got to them!). Steep uphills that turned right into steep downhills then back up, then back down. Over and over like a roller coaster. Seriously. Hard. Stuff.
But it was a blast! I even took 2nd overall for women!! And of course, taking a picture afterwards was when when my iPhone decided to fuzz out and not work. UGH.
It can’t render a focused picture – but I can get take a screenshot on my phone as it tries to render, albeit a blurry one. Since you can’t really see my face, I’l tell you how I was feeling: beat but happy.
Instead of shirts, all the finishers got medals – and these aren’t the “real” medals. Apparently the real medals got stuck in China and should be arriving this week. Pretty impressive they still pulled something together to give to participants! (I wish they had shirts too, or at least the option to purchase one.)
he! see my Vibrams? Just noticed that in this picture. Oh! speaking of my vibrams – I think I would have liked a variety of Vibrams Five Fingers with a little more traction for this trail. One of my friends that ran the race also runs in VFF but he had the trail version and fared better. I slid a bit on the steep downhills (I had to side-step walk down many of them because they were so steep).
So, anyway! I was 2nd overall in women and first in my age division. The first place female is apparently a local running celebrity of sorts and was so friendly and nice. She kept telling me good job and such. Love camaraderie like that! Also, it was SO cool when I was running and would go past groups directing people where to go and they’d yell, “Here comes the second female!” I felt like I was in the Olympics or something. ha!
My prize had some Shot Bloks, some coupons and stickers, and a $40 gift card to Black Dog Running Company. My overall time for the 10K was 51:49 for an average pace of 8:21. [The girl that won ran it in 48:07, average pace 7:45.] There were times my Garmin registered 7 min/miles and other times I had a 9:30 min/mile pace. Considering the course, I felt awesome about that time. Plus, it was just so fun and unlike anything I’ve done before. My calves, ankles, and core have been so sore ever since though! 🙂 Clearly treadmill running doesn’t equip one to run a course like that.
All my friends ran great races too. If they’d given out awards for age groups (they only gave prizes for overall male and female), a couple of them would have won too!
I can’t wait to go back. To the trail and to the beach.
The race organizers are supposed to be posting race pictures soon so I’ll be sure to share when they do.
Would you rather get a race t-shirt or a race medal? I love all the medals I have, especially ones where I’ve PR’d or won my age group or overall for women’s. But it’s fun to have a shirt too since I get so much use out of them. So…my final is: if it’s a finisher’s medal, I’d rather have a shirt. But if I won something, I want a medal. Ha! And yes, I liked gold star stickers as a child.